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Job ads don’t have to be boring

12 Dec 2011

Carline WiumIf your goal is to attract the perfect candidates, take another look at the copy of your employment advertisements. Below are some tips for writing great job ads.

Structure your ad copy

Make your ads flow and include the following elements in no more than about 2 500 characters:

  • Introduce yourself. Grab attention with clear and interesting facts about the role and your business. Draw applicants into your adverts!
  • State what’s involved. Include at least a paragraph on what the job will involve and its main duties.
  • State what’s needed. Highlight the core skills that are necessary for the position.
  • Include a clincher. Finish with information on career progression, benefits, environment, atmosphere and how the role could pan out in future.

A common mistake is highlighting only the requirements needed to fulfil the role. A job ad is more than just a skills summary. Outline core duties and day-to-day activities for a really appealing advertisement.

Specify details about the position

  • Skills required. Highlight the minimum skills required to do this job
  • Level of experience. Does the applicant need one year of reception experience or five years at managerial level, etc.?
  • Minimum qualifications

A word of caution: You need to make sure that these requirements are the absolute inherent job requirements. In some positions the applicant may not have a formal qualification, but his/her experience may be exceptional. The Skills Development Act requires employers to consider prior learning.

Use positive wording

Try using “you” instead of “we need” and “must have”. This will create a feeling of affinity for the role and the ad.

Don't use abbreviations

Don’t assume the general public will understand abbreviations or acronyms, e.g. company-specific acronyms such as AE (for Account Executive), etc. Write job titles out and avoid company lingo.

Try to include a salary range

This isn’t always possible, but it can help to increase the number of applications and will certainly provide more relevant responses.

Don't discriminate on any grounds

It is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on age, race, sex, etc., e.g. using phrases such as delivery boy, males only, not suitable for married individuals, only single people need apply, only Christian individuals, young females, etc. Ensure your ad copy adheres to employment regulatory standards.

Remember to include your contact details

End the advertisement with the correct contact details, viz. name of contact person, telephone numbers, e-mail address and fax number. If necessary, also include a postal address.


For more information, contact Carline Wium of Exceed Human Resource Consultants on tel. 021 882 8140 or e-mail carline@exceed.co.za or visit our website at www.exceedhr.co.za

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